Zeynab El Helw on her favourite eco-friendly baby products
Zeynab El Helw, founder of the Fashion Pirate blog and mum to little Luca, discusses her journey and why she’s choosing only the best for her baby.
Turkish-Egyptian born Zeynab El Helw has captured the hearts of 1 million followers through her Instagram page, Fashion Pirate (@fashion_pirate). The effortlessly-chic mum – who was raised in London – launched her Instagram page in 2015 and has since used it to engage with followers. Not just those who share her ardent love for fashion and beauty, but also mums from around the globe. “The platform eventually led to the development of my e-commerce platform and further involvement in fashion events and pop ups. That is when I decided to bid farewell to my full-time job and pursue my passion,” says Zeynab, a Central Saint Martins graduate who specialised in costume and theatre design, went on to do a Masters in Marketing and another Masters in International Business Management.
Zeynab moved to the UAE ten years ago, to complete an internship at Citibank, however she soon found herself applying for an opening in Dior. “I was a huge fan of the brand and its creative director at the time was John Galliano, who had graduated from my alma mater. Following my first interview, I flew back home to London and I received a call for a second interview on the same day. I decided to take a chance and flew back to Dubai, attended another interview and held my breath for two weeks. I started my job at Dior in June 2010.”
Fast forward to ten years later, and Zeynab has accomplished plenty, with an e-commerce brand, successful blog, and newborn baby keeping her busy on the daily. “I need to plan everything in advance and I can’t step out of my schedule very easily. I’m a very active person so planning ahead is key.” Zeynab tells me, managing work and life comes with its own set of challenges, but it is her first priority to spend as much time as possible with Luca. “I don’t feel tied down as I enjoy spending every minute with him and I know that these days can’t be brought back, so I really want to enjoy every minute. Of course, there are days where it’s exhausting and there is little sleep, but I always try to ensure that I reboot. My family really helps me with that.”
As we chat about her pregnancy, Zeynab mentions she was lucky to have a smooth pregnancy. “I travelled until the eighth month and I was very actively involved in my work. I spent the summer in London – where my family is based – and maintained a very active pregnancy, keeping up with Pilates, a lot of walking and swimming. In the end, I went into labour and delivered naturally at 39 weeks.”
Since every aspect of Zeynab’s life is in the limelight, it’s easy to wonder if she faces a lot of pressure, being an influencer and a mum. “We always face pressure, no matter who we are and what we do. I feel it is important to prioritise yourself and take breaks when needed, as we learn to face challenges and manage everything on our own. I built a thick skin on social media and found a way to balance it being part of my work and not taking it too seriously at the same time,” she says.
Behind the scenes, Zeynab can often be found reading up on the best products for little Luca and asking plenty of questions before making a decision. “I learned that choosing the right, healthy products for the baby from day one is key and can be a gamechanger.” It can be tricky with all the choices available nowadays though, so recommendations, Zeynab mentions, definitely come in handy. For example, more and more new mothers prefer diapers made with natural materials that are less likely to harm their babies and the planet. It is important to choose brands that are tried and true, but most importantly trusted by parents for decades. “When I learnt that Pampers has a new plant-based diaper with natural benefits, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on both the diapers and wipes.”
Her love for the brand soon found her becoming a Brand Ambassador for Pampers Pure. Zeynab first used the product in the UK and realised that the diapers were noticeably more breathable than other options. “This is one example of choosing the right products for your baby. In my case, it helps protect Luca’s delicate skin – and that’s a huge relief as a new mother,” she says, and we’re sure most mums would agree. Zeynab also tells me that her family have been using the brand for years. “I honestly thought they must be too good to be true, and wondered where the compromise was going to be, because as with most eco-friendly baby products, there comes a sacrifice in performance.” After trying them on Luca, Zeynab says they were everything she hoped for. “I choose the softest fabrics for him and am very careful about the products I use. Diapers are no different.” From mum to mum, Zeynab vouches for Pampers Pure as they are free from perfume, lotion, latex and chlorine, made of super soft premium cotton, plant-based fibers and other thoughtfully selected, and responsibly sourced, materials. “The fact that the prints are adorable is an added bonus – I love the ones with cute animal characters.”
As for any other advice she has for mums, Zeynab says, “It’s important to remember that young mothers are stronger than we think we are, and we can tackle any challenge and change in our babies,” she says, flashing that beautiful smile with dimples that captures her followers’ hearts.
To see more from Zenab El Hewl, visit her Instagram account @fashion_pirate.